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Hearing Development

The following are developmental guidelines for children with normal hearing. If your child is not reaching these milestones, they should see their physician or audiologist to have their hearing tested. (Northern & Downs 1989).

Birth to four months:

  • Most babies are startled by sudden loud sounds
  • When sleeping in a quiet room, the baby moves or wakes up at the sound of voices or noises
  • Babies seem to calm down when they are crying, even for a moment, at the sound of mother's voice
  • Babies seem to recognize their mother's voice better than other voices
  • At three to four months, babies will turn their head toward a sound

4 to 8 months:

  • Babies will turn their head and eyes toward a sound when the sound is coming from outside the child's peripheral vision
  • Babies begin to enjoy the sound of musical toys (rattles, bells, etc.)
  • At approximately six months of age, babies begin babbling in response to someone talking to them

8 to 12 months:

  • Babies' voices go up and down in intonation when vocalizing
  • Babies turn directly toward a soft noisemaker, or to the calling of their name
  • Babies seem to enjoy music and respond by listening, bouncing, or singing along

12 to 16 months:

  • Children understand many words, and speak about 25 single words

18 to 24 months:

  • Children undergo a "name explosion." They begin to understand that everything has a word that goes with it, and they begin speaking two word sentences
  • Children know about 100 - 200 words

24 to 36 months:

  • Children begin speaking more fully in sentences, and usually know about 200 - 400 words


Page modified 12/7/15